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The Optimal Level of International Reserves for Emerging Market Countries; Formulas and Applications

  • Romain Ranciere
  • Olivier Jeanne

We present a model of the optimal level of international reserves for a small open economy that is vulnerable to sudden stops in capital flows. Reserves allow the country to smooth domestic absorption in response to sudden stops, but yield a lower return than the interest rate on the country's long-term debt. We derive a formula for the optimal level of reserves, and show that plausible calibrations can explain reserves of the order of magnitude observed in many emerging market countries. However, the recent buildup of reserves in Asia seems in excess of what would be implied by an insurance motive against sudden stops.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 06/229.

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Length: 33
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:06/229
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  1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Stavros Panageas, 2004. "Contingent Reserves Management: An Applied Framework," NBER Working Papers 10786, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Frenkel, Jacob A & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1981. "Optimal International Reserves: A Stochastic Framework," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(362), pages 507-14, June.
  3. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "Thirty Years of Current Account Imbalances, Current Account Reversals, and Sudden Stops," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(s1), pages 1-49, June.
  4. Joshua Aizenman & Nancy Marion, 2002. "The High Demand for International Reserves in the Far East: What's Going On?," NBER Working Papers 9266, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 1997. "Unique Equilibrium in a Model of Self-fulfilling Currency Attacks," CEPR Discussion Papers 1687, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2002. "The Modern History of Exchange Rate Arrangements: A Reinterpretation," NBER Working Papers 8963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. repec:bge:wpaper:185 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Fran Westermann & Romain Ranciere & Aaron Tornell, 2004. "Crises and Growth: A Re-evaluation," 2004 Meeting Papers 130, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Joshua Aizenman & Jaewoo Lee, 2005. "International Reserves; Precautionary vs. Mercantilist Views, Theory, and Evidence," IMF Working Papers 05/198, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Fernando Broner & Guido Lorenzoni & Sergio Schmuckler, 2006. "Why Do Emerging Economies Borrow Short Term?," 2006 Meeting Papers 841, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2004. "The revived Bretton Woods system," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(4), pages 307-313.
  12. David Hauner, 2005. "A Fiscal Price Tag for International Reserves," IMF Working Papers 05/81, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "Thirty Years of Current Account Imbalances, Current Account Reversals and Sudden Stops," NBER Working Papers 10276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Pablo E. Guidotti & Federico Sturzenegger & Agustín Villar, 2004. "On the Consequences of Sudden Stops," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  15. Pablo García & Claudio Soto, 2004. "Large Hoardings of International Reserves: Are They Worth It?," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 299, Central Bank of Chile.
  16. Robert P. Flood & Nancy P. Marion, 2002. "Holding International Reserves in an Era of High Capital Mobility," IMF Working Papers 02/62, International Monetary Fund.
  17. repec:rus:hseeco:181565 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Christian B. Mulder & Matthieu Bussière, 1999. "External Vulnerability in Emerging Market Economies; How High Liquidity Can offset Weak Fundamentals and the Effects of Contagion," IMF Working Papers 99/88, International Monetary Fund.
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